A diocesan paper makes distinctions: liturgical and devotional music

In the official newspaper of the Diocese of Columbus, OH, there is an interesting notice from the Office of Worship.

It is a brief piece, and therefore cannot drill to depth, but it is useful nonethess.

And the topic couldn’t be a better one.

LITURGICAL MUSIC VS. DEVOTIONAL MUSIC

Music in the Catholic Church can be divided into two categories.

Liturgical music is appropriate for a Mass or any other ritual action that is under the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop. Devotional (worship) music is music that has been produced to be used in worshiping God, but not in a liturgical setting

The third edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal suggests [I think it does more than suggest...] that Gregorian chant is proper to the Roman Liturgy and should be regarded as the music that is proper to a liturgical setting. It also says that other types of music, such as polyphony, are appropriate if they “correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action” and “foster the participation of all the faithful.” [We have to understand what "participation" really means, when it comes to music.  Participation isn't only through everyone singing everything.  That requires music which is simplistic.  A deeper participation is possible by some (well-trained) people singing (artistic sacred liturgical music) to which others carefully listen.]  Going hand in hand with the types of music used for liturgy is the types of instrumentation used. In a later paragraph, the Instruction states that the preferred instrument for liturgy is the organ. Other wind, stringed or percussion instruments may be used as long as they can be rendered “truly apt for sacred use.”  [Some instruments have connotations which shift only slowly.  Some cannot fill a large space without amplification.]

In other words, liturgical music should adhere to, and be used within, the context for which it was created. Liturgical music, traditionally, has been written for the organ or for the small ensemble of instruments it is designed to mimic. Many pieces have been written to include both the organ and the ensemble. Instruments that do not require amplification are preferred within the liturgy. This is so that we may complement the sacrifice of Jesus Christ with our own sacrifices. It takes more work to create music that can properly fill the church without amplification. Any instrument that requires amplification is a failure to live up to our prayer that this sacrifice of not only the bread and wine but our labor to give glory and praise is truly the work of our human hands.  [Still.. the bagpipe, which will fill a space, doesn't have a liturgical connotation.]

Devotional music and authentic devotion is supposed to lead us back to the mystery of the Mass and to draw us deeper into the mystery of Christ. As we said last week, authentic devotion can be done anywhere.  [Except, musically, in the context of Mass, as the writer was explaining.]

Therefore, devotional music can exist anywhere. Whether we are caught in a traffic jam, shopping or participating in the parish charismatic praise and worship group, this music keeps Christ fresh in our minds. It also helps to lead us into a greater understanding of our participation in the gift of life. Like devotion in general, devotional music takes a free form and can be played with a variety of instruments. Amplification is not an issue with devotional music because the assembly is usually smaller, [hmmm... how about for rallies of young people?]  and the sense of sacrifice reserved for the Mass is replaced with the idea of giving praise and thanksgiving to God for his many gifts.

Since devotional music is intended for a smaller group, [hmmm] this community should have greater control over what types of music and instruments are played. The devotional setting is the proper place for instruments such as guitars and for groups that prefer to play “rock” style music.  [Exactly, though not so much because the group is smaller.]

Christian “praise bands”, and the songs that they play should be reserved for the devotions of the Church. This is so that the people attending may participate as they wish. A question that should be answered before devotional music is used, and before authentic devotion may take place is; “How does this activity lead us back to the life, death and resurrection of Christ that is present in the Mass?”

Next week, we will complete this series of articles by discussing the prayers of the Church when it comes to liturgy and devotion, and also the places where liturgy and devotion take place.

Well done!
 

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39 Responses to A diocesan paper makes distinctions: liturgical and devotional music

  1. I have been saying for years now that there is a time and place for “praise and worship” music and it is not in the liturgy.

    Separately, yes, but not in the liturgy.

  2. Maureen says:

    Very nicely done.

    Re: the bagpipe — It’s really an instrument meant for marches, processions, and fighting. So it’s eminently suited for piping people into and out of church on solemn occasions, and is probably pretty darned good for piping Our Lord down the street or across the moor during outdoor processions.

    But holy cow, it’s not good _during_ Mass. The blat that you have to start it with is a good reason all by itself. But it’s not really that it’s sacrilegious or anything; it just isn’t itself.

    Of course, if the paynim try to break into your church to slaughter everyone and you’re trying to hold it against them, a bagpipe will come in very handy.

  3. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    “this sacrifice of . . . the bread and wine” ?

    Hmm . . . well now.

    Comments, Anyone?

  4. chironomo says:

    Wow… this is a far more incredible article than you might first think. A Diocesan paper promoting the idea that music with guitars, drums, etc… is not appropriate for use at Mass? And that the easily identified distinction between “devotional” music and “liturgical” music is a truly meaningful distinction in that “devotional” music is not to be used at Mass? Will this be developed into a policy in the Diocese of Columbus? If so, I’m packing my bags now and heading to Columbus!

    Again… wow!

  5. Maureen says:

    Of course, I did mean _the_ bagpipes; but similar arguments apply to _a_ bagpipe (like a dudelsack or similar bag instruments). And I didn’t mean to leave out the usefulness of bagpipe/s for leading dancers. But there’s no reason to be dancing in church, of course.

  6. Maureen says:

    “The sacrifice of the bread and wine” is a perfectly acceptable poetic term, so long as everyone in the audience believes in the Real Presence. It took me a very long time to figure out that some people actually could take it as meaning really nothing but bread and wine.

  7. Emily says:

    Glad to see my home diocese get it right! Sometimes the things in this paper can be all social justice-y, and not enough about liturgy and the Mass. Go us!

  8. Dan says:

    Does anybody know whether Gregorian Chant is given “pride of place” at Masses offered throughout the Columbus Diocese? If Gregorian Chant has been given pride of place in the Columbus Diocese, then that is great news.

    If that isn’t then case then why hasn’t that Vatican II teaching been accepted and implemented throughout the Columbus Diocese?

    Thank you.

    P.S. We read and hear a lot today regarding certain bishops of whom it has been demanded to “accept” Vatican II.

    I am waiting for the majority of Latin Church bishops to accept and implement Vatican II. Perhaps those bishops will held accountable by Rome.

  9. chironomo says:

    If I may be so shameful as to plug an article of my own… it seems that GIA and the NPM are changing their tune a bit too…

    You can click on my name below and it goes to my blog with the article “The Times They Are A-Changin’”. Things are indeed changing…

  10. Sieber says:

    Atta girl Maureen,

    I’d prefer the Pipes and Drums of the Black Watch on St. Andrew’s Day to an Haugen gathering song.

  11. kat says:

    I still like to sing Gregorian Chant along with the choir, rather than just listen. (’cause it is easy to sing, even for someone who is tone deaf)

    But if the choice is between singing On Eagle’s Wing or listening quietly to chant? Well, I’d rather keep my mouth shut!

  12. Scott W. says:

    Save the liturgy save the world? YES!

    BUT I also say, Save the music, save the liturgy.

    That is, all the restoration to correct liturgical practice and attention to rubrics in the world are for naught if you have the usual sentimental mush in the music, the subtext of which is (regardless of the explicit lyrics), “Hey, don’t worry if you reject doctrines. Just follow your heart!” Ya know how you tend to act better when you put on a suit and tie? It’s the same with music. If your music is serious, your worship is serious. If your music is fluff…well you get the point.

    Oh yeah. I’m a heavy-metal guitarist. So don’t try the Your-just-a-stuffy-snob routine. :)

  13. Ken says:

    Is there an insinuation that one should not listen to liturgical music, as defined, outside of the liturgy?

  14. Bobby Faradat says:

    The problem I have with all of this is that at the end of the day it comes down to definitions. I have been in so many discussions about music over the years and when all is said and done what it normally comes down to is that different people like different music and while some are tolerant, others will go to great lengths to find rules banning music that isn’t to their personal taste.

    I mean… when you start saying that ‘instruments requiring amplification’ aren’t appropriate it becomes rather obvious that you are rather unsubtly trying to target certain instruments. Especially with a completely ridiculous argument tying non-amplified instruments to a notion of sacrifice.

    Good music is good music, and that’s that. If it’s good, it fills the Church because it’s good. It it’s bad, it doesn’t, not matter how loudly it’s piped out there.

    After all, I have seen organs that are far far far more amplified than any electric-acoustic guitar. Or is the definition now going to be changed to ‘electric amplification?’

    I also take serious issue with this idea that devotional music is intended for smaller groups. Clearly the author has never seen Hillsong/ Matt Redman/ CJM/ Matt Maher filling entire stadiums.

    One final point: I have issues with the idea that traditional music gives a sense of sacrifice, while modern music can only give a sense of joy and celebration. I know many people who find plainchant etc very uplifting and joyful and equally I know many many praise and worship songs which speak very beautifully about the sacrifice of the cross and of uniting onesself selflessly to Christ.

    At the end of the day, the debate normally comes down to indistinct ideas that nobody can really argue against, such as what is “appropriate to the liturgy” and what is “fitting.” In other words, arguments which say, “I am right and you are too dumb to understand why so shut up!”

  15. Maureen says:

    But how are you going to quantify good taste? Are you demanding that people be told in a specific edict that “neon orange and puce vestments don’t count as liturgical rose”?

    The idea is to feel and think with the mind of the Church. What’s acceptable music should be something that should be very clear to us except in the case of a very few pieces. It should be as clear as the things our mothers should have taught us about acceptable behavior in the house. Through no fault of our own, a lot of us don’t have that automatic knowledge of what’s proper. So we have articles like this instead.

    Or you could put my mother in charge of picking out a whitelist every year of acceptable Church music. Which actually would not be a bad plan except that she really hates all really high notes from violins or soprano voices, so she’d demand that Panis Angelicus be sung a lot lower. :)

  16. This is a short but profound document, way to go for the Diocese of Columbus, OH.

    Though I do disagree on the small group principle, I think the argument might have better been made using something else…

    I hope this will lead to a reform of many “Life Teen” Masses…This is something I’m pretty passionate about…I wonder what they’ll say next.

  17. Maureen says:

    Sorry to be so mouthy on this thread….

    I agree that the amp argument is weird. The real problem with amplification is threefold. First, amplification discourages singing and fights against church architecture. Second, it sounds fakey. Fakeyness is not something encouraged by the documents of the church, which is why all pre-recorded music is forbidden and most musicians feel that pre-programmed MIDI is forbidden, too. Amping gets to the point of broadcasting, and at that point you might as well phone it in from the practice room next door or the recording from last Thursday. Fake, fake, fake. Finally, church building acoustics have always been something that the Church has taken into account and cared about — until amplification came in, pretending that they no longer mattered, and making stupid church architecture seem far more possible.

    But all that is not particularly lovesome to explain. Being self-giving and responsive, working with the congregation and building instead of beating them over the head with the tyrannical power of the amp — that’s a lot sweeter way to put it. (I’m not very sweet by nature, but I do try.)

  18. Maureen says:

    More mouthiness….

    But I do agree that devotional music belongs in Really Large Groups, too. The Rosary Rally made a lot of the songs I don’t like at Mass sound very likeable, as roared out in a non-liturgical setting. Soloist songs and divine love ballads really, really work — in a non-liturgical setting.

    Probably the article writer was thinking more about what a parish does. We don’t have a lot of massive processions and concerts in parishes. It would be cool if we did, like in church festivals in Miami that I’ve heard podcast.

  19. Sam Schmitt says:

    Bobby Faradat,

    I’m not sure why you think ideas such as “fitting” and “appropriate” are so vague and indistinct. Vatican II can be quite specific.

    For instance, the Columbus document states a preference for instruments do not need amplification. I see this as an application of what Vatican II said. While admitting other instruments into the liturgy, it stated “In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up (the human) mind to God and to higher things” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 120). Sounds pretty non-vague to me. The problem is too many people have been ignoring / misinterpreting / misdirecting / not implementing what the Church has said.

    Although discussions about church music frequently end up in debates about taste, it isn’t supposed to be that way. The Church doesn’t leave as important an issue as music in the liturgy to our own whims – she spells out what is fitting, what is the ideal, in fact. That is not a matter of debate. The question is, how do we get there from here, or what part of this ideal can we realize in our own situation? That’s when it gets really interesting.

  20. DocJim says:

    One time use of bagpipes in a service in Protestant Episcopal cathedral of stone: A memorial service in Detroit jointly held by Canadian and American units for WW2 dead of those units. It left nary a dry eye and befit the memorial service.

    This was not the same as a Mass, but it was close to a liturgical setting. If I heard a bagpipe in the small Roman church where I now attend the 1962 Mass on Sunday morning, I might bolt and run.

  21. Ed says:

    Before cashiering the bagpipes, consider the

    “ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE INTERNATIONAL
    CONGRESS OF SACRED MUSIC”

    (4)”The 20th century, particularly the second half, saw a development of popular religious music in line with the desire expressed by the Second Vatican Council that it be ‘intelligently fostered’ (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 118). This form of singing is particularly suitable for the participation of the faithful, both in devotional practices and in the liturgy itself. It requires of composers and poets qualities of creativity, in order to open the hearts of the faithful to the deeper significance of the text of which the music is the instrument. This is also true of traditional music, for which the Council expressed great esteem and requested that it be given ‘its proper place both in educating people’s religious sense and in adapting worship to their native genius’”
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/2001/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20010127_religious-music_en.html

    “Native genius” is an extraordinary expression, and John Paul unambiguously, (and as Vicar of Christ on Earth), mentions the importance of education and adaptation.

    I can see/hear/feel bagpipes in some liturgical settings. It’s really about our openness to the sacred, and to God.

  22. Christa says:

    Former Methodist here, chiming in. I have noticed that in our missal hymnal there are a great many post-1970 hyms, almost all of which are pretty bad.

    They are difficult for untrained people to sing, having weird rhythms and odd note combinations. Many of them have a “show tune” quality which does not sound sacred. Quite a few are of the variety which glorify the people of the Church as opposed to Christ. And almost all of these hymns require our organist/choir director to use the piano rather than the organ for accompaniment.

    Who is chooses this music for the hymnal? (It’s the missal with the icky modern drawings on the cover). Who is in charge of choosing the music for the mass?

    Finally, is it proper for me to raise my objections, and to whom do I do this? (I am a fairly new Catholic and I am hesitant to sound like a whiner, but really, the music is pretty bad.)

  23. Frank H says:

    As a resident of the Columbus Diocese, I was quite taken with the article when I saw it in this week’s Catholic Times. However, my parish is a classic “four hymn sandwich” type parish; very few Masses have anything sung but the four hymns. Maybe an occasional Agnus Dei to get in a smidgen of Latin. Don’t think I’ve ever heard Gregorian chant here. And one Sunday Mass always includes the guitars, flute and piano, and a pretty out of tune singer on the high harmony. I’ll withhold the parish name to protect the innocent.

  24. Here here!

    I will give an example, since I am a music “nerd”

    Devotional (IE praises God, but doesnt quite work liturgically)

    Above All – Beautiful song. Talks about God’s Majesty, Talks about Crucifiction, Talks about Sacrifice, and the “Price because of me”. One of my favorite DEVOTIONAL songs.

    Older Song
    Schubert Ave Maria – Yes its Ave Maria, but for a while it wasnt appropriate. Since it borders “aria”, I lump it in with show boating. Yes I am a tenor, classically trained. Yes I like to sing it. No it isnt totally appropriate during the mass, alas I guess it all depends on intention though.

    Mass in time of War – Wonderful piece to listen to..

    Berlioz Te Deum – Go listen to it. Yes its the whole te deum. No its over powering (Its written for 2 choirs, opposite ends of a cathedral, two organs too) . Magnificent piece of music. Doesnt “gel” with the liturgy though

    Liturgical (or appropriate to Liturgy) – I will pick a modern and not so modern.

    Not so modern – pick a chant. Or Even a good Hymn. “Hymns” work very nice in the NOvus Ordo, despite how some “choirmasters” might consider them old fashioned. everyone can pick up a hymn too. Its a basic common time, no funny syncopation, just 1234, 1234, 1234 (and on and on and on)

    In attende Domine (or for that much, any chant)
    Lift High the Cross
    Praise to the Lord
    I heard the voice of Jesus Say (a bit anglican, but a personal favorite… Mentions the man of the hour more then adequately)

    Modern –

    Let us Go to the Altar of God (a couple different versions, all nod to the traditional response of the beginning of mass)

    Mass of John Carroll (except the gloria…It just doesnt fit the rest of the mass, musically speaking of course). Also delightfully marries new and old.

    Ubi Caritas – ( those of you from St Louis, have heard a wonderful version from the Diocesan Choir, Keeps the Chant, but a modern composer)

    there are others too, Its just late and I cant think

    My point is though, there are both new and old songs that are appropriate, and inappropriate. What determines it first is Christ centeredness, and secondly the “rhyme and meter”. It shouldnt be so complicated that it fights for the faithful’s attention. Even older classical music, can be guilty of this. Really it is up to those responsible for the music in a parish to know what is appropriate. Just because we think something “moves us”, doesnt mean its right for the mass.

    Imagine if we had a praise concert, attract people. Have that once or twice a month, then show them the “next step”, the mass, in all its proper glory. The two really could be used to compliment each other, unfortunately most people with the “Spirit of Vatican II” tend to favor the more touchy feely music for what is proper. So sadly you get a Praise concert instead of a mass, complete with Choreography, and for those poor souls, liturgical dancing (ick) too.

  25. and Crucifixion, should be the proper spelling. Alas, Late night mistake.

  26. Mary Jane says:

    This is a positive step from a diocesan office, making a valuable distinction between the devotional and liturgical. I’m grateful and I think folks should forward it along to other diocesan “worship/liturgy offices.”

  27. I have always been struck by Cardinal Ratzinger’s discussion (and trashing of) what he calls the “Gebrauchmusik” (sp?) or “Utility music.”

    I do not care how many people fill the stadiums to hear contemporary Christian musicians sing their offensively-named “praise and worship” music (as if Gregorian Chant or Polyphony does not ‘praise and worship’ God?).

    It is not about filling the pews. It’s about saving souls. Edifying them is a strong part of that and this requires treating the entire person, not just base emotions (which are often excited through such “P&W” rock-type music). In this view, then, the pews being filled is an indirect object.

    I know that the Society of St. John Cantius in Illinois has packed parishes precisely because of their adherence to the tradition of appropriate liturgical music. I even heard one story of a woman who walked into the church while they were singing. She broke down crying on the spot and, if memory serves, donated $15,000. Whether that story be simple pious legend or actual fact, I can not say with certitude, but it does say something for the power of the Chant and Polyphony.

    Alas, I will get off my soapbox.

  28. Ohio Annie says:

    I am amazed to see this. Gregorian chant is almost nonexistent in the Columbus diocese. Exception is made during Lent and sometimes Advent for a few parts of the Mass. You never regularly hear a chanted ordinary that I know of (I am talking about the Novus Ordo Mass because we have still pretty much retained the indult system here, see the bishop’s letter on “SP,” which put a whole bunch of requirements on the saying of the TLM). But I may not know, I am just a convert and relatively new. I do know the worship “style” of about 8 parishes and none are according to the intent of the Vatican II documents, which I have actually studied.

    Some parishes still have the Life Teen Masses with guitars and drums. They are mainly attended by the relatives of the musicians, it seems.

    I have discussed these issues with several priests and music directors. They assume a hostility to Latin and one music director said at her conservative Novus Ordo parish (where the liturgy is done correctly) there is an outspoken desire to not have Latin.

    Generally, the lay people with whom I have spoken are either satisfied with hymns and a spoken ordinary or feel internally that something is wrong but don’t know what it is. The members of the 70′s and older group that I hang around with (the rosary makers) long for the old Mass or even a Latin new Mass but are suffering in silence.

    Most of the priests I know could say the new Mass in Latin only with difficulty.

    I have to go to St. Meinrad for my chant. It is in English there but the psalm tones are especially written for English so it sounds “right.”

  29. The article says in part that in devotional music “the sense of sacrifice reserved for the Mass is replaced with the idea of giving praise and thanksgiving to God for his many gifts.”

    The Mass is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. So to try to artificially separate the sacrifice from praise and thanksgiving is strange. Music that expresses praise and thanksgiving is thus most particularly apt for the Sacrifice of the Mass.

  30. One of the requirements of the Council Vatican II was the institution of liturgical music ‘review boards’ in every diocese. Because some of the language was a bit ambiguous [We want you to sing Latin and chant, but ....well...if there's a pastoral reason to do otherwise you can...] these commissions were supposed to exist to approve or disapprove liturgical practices.

    Control really does have to exist at the authoritative level of the Bishop. Too many priests are ignorant, apathetic, or are terrified by mouthy liberal-leaning parishioners who demand ‘meaningful’ music.

    As far as I know, these commissions do not exist in ANY diocese. There might be one overwhelmed man in a chancery somewhere who has a title but no way to implement any kind of approval process or structure.

    I would love to see a Diocese implement a program that other bishops can model. This would include obligatory training for parish priests on rules of liturgical music [most are completely unaware that rules exist or that THEY are in charge of the liturgy, liturgy=music, music=liturgy]. Another component would be a diocesan-based group of all parish musicians and directors, not led by the current NPM-types in charge today, where similar information is shared. Another component would be recommendations of good choices of music that congregations should be learning, as well as a ‘do-not-sing’ list. These approaches can meet the local problems right where they exist, rather than trying to create broad badly-fitting recommendations at a national level.

    I have heard from priests who are too darned busy to get educated, are apathetic because they really don’t understand the importance, and who don’t appreciate educated directors. There are also ignorant directors who don’t appreciate direction from good priests either. For priests who are beat up by parishioners, a diocesan commission would free these poor men from the battles.

    In the corporate world, who hasnt had web-based tutorials that take 15 minutes at the desk computer? This approach could be leveraged for the ‘too-busy’ excuse right in the pastor’s office at his own desk.

  31. That the ArchAbbey? If so, again, once again most the time, Benedictines get it right.

    People talk about cloning His Excellency Arch Bishop burke (in jest of course) , I vote to Bring back St Benedict. We need people who will yell at some of these people to get it in gear!!

  32. Ohio Annie says:

    Yes, Patrick it is the St. Meinrad archabbey. That strange mixture of old and new. I go there a couple of times a year. There are over a thousand oblates affiliated with the archabbey. Interesting place and interesting monks.

  33. I did retreat at St Bernard, they are in the same confraternity as St Meinrad. Very cool stuff. The house by us in St Louis of course is Ampleforth, so slightly different habits :)

  34. Not Getting Creaky Just Yet says:

    My pastor thinks (incorrectly) that he sounds “like the Budweiser frogs”–actually after he warms up he has a lovely voice, not some waffly tenor like the ’60s were so full of but something deeper.

    Perhaps what our pastors need is some guidance on warming up their voices for Mass as well as “warming up their souls” before Mass?

  35. Maureen says:

    My pastor sounds like a bass bullfrog, but he sings the Mass with great dignity. The strange thing is, when he first came, people said crazy things behind his back, like he was singing the Mass just to show off. Whereas in actuality, every part of his body language said that he was very shy about singing. Of course, a lot of people nowadays don’t even know that you _can_ sing/chant the Mass, much less that it’s normative for priests to do it.

    Oswald —
    I think the article was aiming at the idea that music at Mass has to have more gravitas than the “praise music” a lot of people want to do. “God is great super-great yeah thanks” is not a good text for a liturgical piece. The fact that Jesus did die for us before He rose, that hHe did offer His whole self for us to the Father — there’s a solemnity there, even in the greatest moment of joy. The problem is that if you say Mass music should be “solemn”, a lot of people think that means “glum and depressing”.

    Of course, we also live in a society where some people are apparently cast into despair at hearing a single minor chord, or so you’ll hear from some music directors as explanation for continually playing nothing but peppy songs. Go figure.

  36. TerryC says:

    To start a quick ??? on the part about amplified instruments. Considering the organ at my church is an electric organ not using amplification is an impossibility. I expect that electric organs are quite common at many modern church buildings.
    As for why Gregorian chant is used so little…we have created a situation in the last generation whereby there are few musicians trained in liturgical music. In most every parish in my neck of the woods the music minister is a trained amateur, rather than a professional. That means they came out of secular musical training and volunteer to apply their talents to ministry. The one or two for whom this is not the case actually come out of Protestant traditions, that is they may have professional training in “church music” but they are converted Protestants and use a large selection of Protestant hymns which OCP very thoughtfully provides for them.
    The difference between devotional and liturgical music is also effectively moot for a society where most members of the church never attend any church function other than Mass. We use devotional music at Life Teen functions (which in my parish Do Not include Mass), XLT adoration and at monthly adult catechisis. In a parish of 800 families we have a regular group of perhaps 150 individuals. The rest will never hear anything but liturgical music because they aren’t involved in the life of the parish outside of that one hour-ten minute Sunday Mass.
    It all starts with the priest. My parish has a priest who scrupulously follows the rubrics of the Mass, but is not so keen on the GIRM’s requirements on Latin and chant. He’s not going to look for a music minister who is properly trained in liturgical music. He’s not going to be supportive of a member of the parish forming a schola, even if such a talented individual was a member of our parish. Without his support in catechizing the parish to why such music is superior for liturgy the vast majority of the parish will continue in ignorance.
    Barring that kind of support the next best thing would be for the bishops to pressure the Catholic publishers to clean up their act. With proper marketing they could sell both liturgical and devotional music to parishes. By differentiating their products they might actually sell more stuff. How’s that for a capitalistic argument?

  37. “not some waffly tenor like the ‘60s were so full of but something deeper.”

    Now now, not all tenors are bad.. Though, its very easy with the voice to sound “hippie”. I do my best to sound as masculine as my 1st tenor range, possibly allows.

    I think Pastor’s knowing about music goes back to seminary. Some seminaries have good music programs, some…welll……

    You would be surprised though how much alot of priests actually know about music. I think atleast from my own experience, its a comfort zone with some priests. Our former pastor at St Martin De Porres had a LOVELY voice… thing Bing Crosby (not kidding). We had to twist his arm to get him to chant the Exultet though. He thought he was bad. But he was VERY good. So maybe encourage your pastor, tell him he did a lovely job on the preface, or the canon, or whatever he is bold enough to sing. I think they appreciate it more then anything. Then you get them taking a more active interest in the music, and then there is a less chance it ends up goofy.

  38. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    According to Maureen:

    “The sacrifice of the bread and wine” is a perfectly acceptable poetic term, so long as everyone in the audience believes in the Real Presence.

    If that’s a perfectly acceptable phrase to you, then I shudder to think what your hypothetical audience understands by the (equally poetic?) phrase, “Real Presence.”

    I guess as long as everyone in the audience understood the Hypostatic Union we could be equally imprecise and say Jesus was a human being.

    It took me a very long time to figure out that some people actually could take it as meaning really nothing but bread and wine.

    It took you a very long time to realize that saying “bread and wine” in regards to the Eucharist could be misinterpreted . . . really?

  39. Philpatrick says:

    Just as a thought to provoke more thought on the article.

    What about the inherent conflict about electronic organs? That is an instrument that requires amplification, so does it make it unsuitable? Does the article mean that the only organ acceptable is a tracker pipe organ with choir boys in the back pumping the billows?

    This is not a serious question, but one to push the envelope of thought, and encourage precise thinking and speaking.

    Blessings to all,